Collected Stories 1939-1976 – Paul Bowles

1960s: Days of Rage

“After an early false start as a poet and a substantial career as a composer, Paul Bowles began his career as a short story writer in his mid-thirties, when he was asked to edit an issue of a magazine on Central and South American culture and felt an urge to invent some myths of his own. He hoped to inhabit the primitive mind, and resolved to adopt ‘the old Surrealist method of abandoning conscious control and writing whatever words came from the pen.’ In ‘By the Water,’ for instance, a young man enters the baths of a strange and unfriendly town, and after following the long dark corridors to the pools, happens to run into the proprietor of the place: ‘The creature’s head was large; its body was small and it had no legs or arms. The lower part of the trunk ended in two flipper-like pieces of flesh. From…

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